The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 27, 1904
Freak Marriage of Stratford Girl
Wedded at Spiritualist Camp Meeting Before Crowd of Spectators
Minerva Bentley is the Bride
Weds William L. Gibbs of Abilene, Tex., Met at Camp Meeting at Cedar Rapids, and Concluded to be Made One on the Spot
Stratford, Ia. Aug. 27 — Miss Minerva Bentley of Stratford took an important part in a woods wedding at Cedar Rapids on Wednesday evening. In fact, she was the bride, the groom being William L. Gibbs of Abilene, Tex. The two were attending the Spiritualists’ camp meeting there and concluded to enter into matrimony before the close of the camp meeting. The following is a report from the meeting in regard to this strange wedding:
“There is a little matter of business to transact before we conclude,” solemnly observed a minister at the Spiritualists’ camp meeting at Cedar River Park last evening: and with the audience all in ignorance of what was to transpire a blushing bride and groom walked into full view of the crowd and proceeded to answer the usual questions incident to a marriage ceremony.
The couple who chose this novel and surprising method of becoming man and wife were William L. Gibbs of Abilene, Tex., and Minerva Bentley of Stratford, Ia. They have been in attendance at the camp meeting and arranged with Rev. J. Allord to make a preliminary announcement and perform the ceremony.
(Editor’s note: I looked up the marriage on FamilySearch.org. They were married on Aug. 24, 1904, — a Wednesday, as mentioned in the article — in Waterloo. She was 44 and he was 53. His parents were John L. Gibbs and Martha J. Long. Her parents were William Bowman and Maria Hardin.)